If you think about it, there are few objects in your face that you depend on as much as your mattress. If it’s not perfect, everything seems wrong all day--you feel wrong, you slept wrong, you hurt all over. And a mattress isn’t cheap; you want it to last. So when the time comes for you to move, or time to store a mattress for a while, you want to make sure that you don’t lose the investment--an investment of both money and the time it took to find the right one.
How do you properly store a mattress?
Clean it Thoroughly
Before you ever move or store the mattress, you should make sure you clean it completely. (You have been cleaning your mattress regularly, right? If not, here’s the rundown.)
First, strip the mattress of everything--sheets, cover, extra cushions--and get your vacuum. You want to vacuum the mattress thoroughly and deeply, getting rid of everything that you don’t want moldering in there for the amount of time that you’re storing it. Next, flip it over and vacuum the other side. We know that this is a task, but it’s worth it!
After you’ve vacuumed it, use an upholstery cleaner (like you use on the couch) to do another deep clean. Finally, give it some time to air out. You want it to be completely dry before you move to the next step.
Wrap it in Plastic
You don’t want to go to all the trouble of cleaning your mattress and drying it only to let it get dirty and wet, right? You want the plastic to be durable--we’re not talking kitchen plastic wrap here--but ideally not too thick. You want it to be breathable. Wrap the whole mattress up with this wrapping and seal it with packing tape.
If you’re going to be storing the mattress for a long time (or just for convenience’s sake) it would be worth it to buy a mattress bag. You can get these online or from moving companies, and they usually cost less than $20 (and certainly less than buying a new mattress). Make sure the bag has no tears or holes and your good to move it!
Transport Your Mattress in a Covered Truck
The last thing you want is for your mattress to get dirty or damaged during the move. If you’ve wrapped it in plastic, you might think you’re safe from water, but the plastic isn’t ever going to be completely waterproof. Also, you don’t know what kind of debris is on the road; the same nails, screws, and rocks that chip your windshield could put a tear in your mattress bag (or mattress!)
You never want to strap a mattress to the top of a car, or cram it into a too-full moving van. For starters, a mattress on top of a car is really unsafe for both you and other drivers, but also it could bend and warp past the point where it is salvageable. Just because a mattress is soft doesn’t mean it should be folded, squashed, and twisted.
Is it okay to store the mattress on its side in the moving truck? Yes, especially because you don’t want to put anything on top of it (like furniture) but we’ll talk more about storing mattresses on their sides in a minute.
Store Your Mattress Flat
Yes, we know that space is at a premium, and we know that we just told you not to put furniture on top of it. But a mattress should be stored flat, especially if it’s going to be more than a few days. You may think that the cost of the storage space is too much to pay to store your mattress flat, but bear in mind that you’ll just end up buying a new mattress all over again if you try to store it on its side.
A mattress, whether it’s gel or memory foam or springs, is going to deform when it’s not laid out the way it was intended. The springs will droop and flex, the foam and gel will sag. And there’s a point (which isn’t very long) after which it won’t bounce back into its normal shape.
And like we said, while it’s stored, just like while it’s in the moving van, don’t put anything on top of it!
Find the Best Place to Store Your Mattress
Where are you putting this? A storage situation is an important consideration. Should you put a mattress in an attic? Should you put a mattress in a basement? Should you put it in a storage shed?
The things you need to be sure of are moisture and temperature. If you have a perfectly climate-controlled attic or basement, then go ahead and store your mattress there, but if it’s not there are things to consider. Is it going to get hot? Is your mattress going to bake in the summer sun in a concrete storage shed or uninsulated attic? If your mattress gets too hot it can damage the gel and memory foam. On the other hand, if it gets damp, that will definitely ruin your mattress (unless you catch it within hours and get it completely cleaned and dry).
If you don’t have access to a climate-controlled space, guard against moisture by placing your mattress up off the floor. And, if possible, keep it in a ventilated space, or with a portable dehumidifier.
Taking the Mattress Out of Storage
When you take the mattress out of storage, you should move it again following all the cautions listed above, and then unwrap it and clean it again. Check carefully to make sure there’s no mold anywhere and that no damage has occurred. A little tear can be overlooked, but a little mold might mean severe health consequences.
If you’d like to freshen it up a bit, sprinkle the mattress with baking soda, let it air out, and then vacuum all of the baking soda back up.